Toward a genealogy of the liberal government of youth
(2018) Journal of Youth Studies, 21 (4), pp. 461-477.
While discourses that define and demarcate young people such that they become legitimate targets of negative practices of marginalisation and exclusion have not disappeared, these are no longer the dominant discourses and modes of governing youth. Constructions of youth as self-determining subjects and empowerment polices of youth participation increasingly animate contemporary approaches to governing young people throughout the West and beyond. Until recently, the dominant critique of such developments consisted of accusations of failed attempts to realise certain principles in practice or of their ideological functions. There is however an emerging critical youth studies literature that analyses such developments drawing on the work of Beck and Foucault’s notion of ‘governmentality’. In this paper, I argue that while these studies challenge some of the assumptions upon which such developments rest, they are yet to challenge the extent to which these contemporary ways of constructing and governing youth are new. Using Foucault’s genealogical method my research traces an unacknowledged nineteenth century history of these common ways of constituting and governing youth today. To conclude I consider the strategic usefulness and ramifications of these findings for critical youth studies and policies of youth participation. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
empowerment; genealogy; governmentality; Liberalism; youth participation
drawing, empowerment, genealogy, government, human, human experiment, juvenile, rest